Did you know that one setting on your phone could be providing the exact time and place that you took a picture to everyone online? Did you know that having a public profile and “checking in” to a location can put you and your family in danger? While we like to think that social media is a safe place to share our daily lives with friends and family, it is also the perfect place for predators to find you, especially if your profile is public. So are you going to make their job easier or are you willing to take necessary precautions to keep your kids safe?
I don’t mean to scare you, I just want you to be aware. Having a public profile and posting pictures of our kids, we are all vulnerable. We are allowing people to not only get an intimate look into our lives, through pictures and words, but also allowing them the opportunity to publicly criticize our choices in parenting style, food, appearance, fashion and lifestyle. We can delete inappropriate comments and block accounts we don’t feel comfortable with, but at the same time, we need to remember that the creepiest people on the internet are not going to click that “follow” button. They aren’t going to like or comment on your posts either. They are going to be silent and you won’t even know they’re there, waiting to see where you’ll check in next.
I’ve come across a number of Instagram accounts that add their location to their posts. Every single time I see one, I cringe. Taking a picture of your child at a local park or at their school, and clicking on the “add location” button is so dangerous. I’ve seen it happen so many times during the summer and now for back to school week. What would stop a predator from showing up at that park or school? They probably have your name, your child’s name and could even have more, depending on how many personal details you provide (and there are some that provide a whole lotta details, let’s be honest). We may be giving them all the tools they need to cause harm, without even realizing we are doing it.
You wouldn’t allow your child to go onto social media and tell everyone where they were and give directions to that location, would you? So why would you, as a parent, share this information? Ultimately, it’s your decision what you choose to share on your accounts, but please think twice before you post anything that gives too much information. It takes one click of a button for predators to find all of the people that checked into a particular location.
So what can you do to stay safe? First, make sure to check the privacy settings on your phone. There should be a location services section, depending on the type of phone you have. Any social media where you have a public account should be set to “NEVER”. This will not track your location when you post. Never “check in” or “add location” on a public profile. Strangers do not need to know your exact location, for any reason. Make sure that the photos app location settings are also set to “NEVER”. Did you know that your phone is recording the time and place you take a picture with your phone if you don’t have the option checked?! Most people have no idea. I know I didn’t until I saw it on the news.
Before you post anything, make sure you are aware of your surroundings. License plate numbers, numbers on your house that show your address, street signs, school names, etc. If you wouldn’t hand this information to a predator, then don’t post it. As brand reps, bloggers and social influencers, we are making the decision to share certain parts of our lives but it’s our responsibility to make sure we are also doing everything possible to keep our families safe.
How do you keep your information safe online? Comment below and share.